Being a business leader nowadays takes guts. But have you ever stopped to think about how your actions are helping or possibly hindering those around you? Do you scare people into action? Throw caution to the wind? Is laissez-faire more your mantra?
If flexibility is the path to great leadership, self-awareness is the first step.
Take this short quiz to help identify your leadership style.
1. An employee asks you to help clarify a new process you discussed in a recent staff meeting. You respond by:
A. Rolling your eyes and sighing loudly. After all, your time is at a premium and the team should get it by now.
B. Telling Sue to tell Jim to tell Bill to set up a meeting to discuss.
C. Spending the next two hours recapping the entire process It’s important this process is understood by all.
D. Provide a quick, general answer. Your team should be resourceful enough to figure out the details without you.
E. Referring them to online materials that outline the process steps in detail.
2. You discover a flaw in a proposal that was just sent out to an important prospect. You respond by:
A. Unleashing a stream of expletives loud enough for the whole floor to hear.
B. Standing over the offender while they uncover the error line by line.
C. Taking responsibility for the mistake.
D. Tell the team to send a new proposal immediately – without clarifying the problem.
E. Calmly pointing out the mistake and assigning next steps.
3. You spend most of the day with your door closed. This most likely means:
A. Someone is getting yelled at.
B. You are scrutinizing everyone’s work for accuracy.
C. You are consoling your assistant after her latest breakup.
D. You are busy. End of story.
E. You are finalizing a plan to on-board new employees.
4. A project from a brand new account gets assigned to your team. You respond by:
A. Dumping it on the first desk you see with the mandate, “Get it done.”
B. Assigning the work and asking everyone for hourly status reports.
C. Working on it yourself – you don’t want to overwhelm them with yet another request.
D. Delegating the work and then sitting back until they come to you with questions.
E. Delegating the work appropriately and providing points-of-contact.
5. A junior employee asks for greater responsibility. You respond by:
A. Offering up more “busy work” to keep them distracted.
B. Giving them more responsibility, but continuing to manage them to the same degree.
C. Asking what type of work makes them “feel comfortable.”
D. Giving the green light for them to seek out more opportunities.
E. Working out a plan to transition them into a more challenging role.
Tally your answers and ready on for insight on your style – and how you can achieve better balance.
Remedy: Set your expectations up front. Practice being more firm. Make sure your staff is clear on where you stand on company policies, and review individual job roles periodically.
Remedy: Become more involved. Set clear direction. Check in with your employees to ensure they know what’s expected of them. Let them know you have an open door if they need guidance or have lingering questions.
Adaptability is key to effective leadership. Successful leaders can move among styles to respond to the needs of the moment. So be flexible, and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself to new standards of effectiveness and support for those you lead. By adopting a mindset of continuous improvement, you’ll likely be rewarded with a team that’s loyal and committed – and has the drive to achieve the business results you’re aiming for.
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